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Read  before  the  Jewish  Historical  Society  of  England, 
in  the  Mocatta  Library,  University  College, 

DECEMBER   12,    1910, 






President  of  the  Society. 

Beprinteil  from  TBB  JKVVISU  WORLD  by  OKAS.  Siiivuijt  A.XD  SONS,  LTD., 
Bisliopsgate  Avenue,  Camomile  Street,  London,  E.G. 




Some  twenty  years  ago,  while  investigating  the  circumstances 
of  the  re-settlement  of  the  Jews  in  this  country  under  the 
Protectorate,  I  was  struck  by  the  curious  fact  that  tht  chief 
figure  in  that  movement,  Antonio  Fernandez  Carvajal,  and 
several  of  his  fellow  adventurers,  hailed  from  a  little  archi- 
pelago in  the  East  Atlantic,  which  had  never  before  figured 
in  Jewish  history,  and  which,  so  far  as  I  know,  has  not  even 
yet  iound  a  place  in  that  record.  Carvajal  had  considerable 
property  in  the  Canaries,  and  seems  to  have  spent  his  early 
life  at  Santa  Cruz.  Duarte  Henriques  Alvares  had  been  Royal 
Treasurer  in  the  islands,  and  his  nephew,  Antonio  Rodriguee 
Robles,  whose  sensational  denunciation  as  a  Spaniard  on  the 
outbreak  of  the  Spanish  war  in  1656  first  revealed  the  existence 
of  the  London  Marrano  community,  and  successfully  established 
its  rights  of  residence,  had  been  his  Deputy-Treasurer.  There 
was  also  reason  to  believe  that  CarvajaFs  brother-in-law,  Simon 
de  Souza,  and  other  relatives  and  co-religionists  of  his  who 
had  joined  him  in  England,  notably  Domingo  de  la  Cerda 
and  Antonio  de  Porto,  were  Canariote  immigrants.  With  a 
view  to  throwing  further  light  on  tihe  personal  hisfoories  of 
these  men,  and  on  the  circumstances  which  determined  their 
eventful  migration,  I  planned  a  visit  to  Teneriffe  in  the  autumn 
of  1894.  By  a  fortunate  accident  I  confided  my  project  to 
the  late  Marquis  of  Bate,  and  was  thus  spared  a  bootless 
journey.  Some  years  earlier  Lord  Bute  had  acquired  the  larger 
part  of  the  original  records  of  the  Canariote  Inquisition,  of 
which  a  general  calendar,  dealing  chiefly  with  Protestant 
and  sorcery  cases,  has  since  been  printed  under  the  editorship 
of  Dr.  de  Gray  Birch.  These  valuable  documents  he  was  good 
enough  to  place  at  my  disposal.  Since  then  I  have  had  them 
carefully  examined,  and  I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  tell  you  that 


(    2    ) 

a  calendar  of  all  the  Jewish  cases  figuring  in  them  has  now 
been  completed,  and  that  one  of  my  chief  tasks  in  the  office  to 
which  you  have  been  good  enough  to  re-elect  me  in  this  society 
will  be  to  edit  and  publish  this  extremely  valuable  contribu- 
tion to  Jewish  history 

I  propose  to-night  to  give  you  a  brief  account  of  the  hitherto 
unknown  history  of  our  co-religionists  in  the  Canaries  as  re- 
vealed by  these  documents,  reserving  a  more  detailed  study 
for  the  introduction  it  will  be  my  duty  and  privilege  to  supply 
to  the  calendar  in  its  published  form. 


Amador  de  los  Rios  in  his  "  Historia  de  los  Judios  en  Espana  " 
mentions  the  "islands  of  the  Oceanic  Archipelagos"  as  having 
afforded  a  refuge  to  some  of  the  Jewish  victims  of  the  great 
Iberian  expulsion  of  1492.  That  the  Canaries  were  comprised 
in  this  vague  generalisation  is  shown  by  the  local  historians, 
Viera  y  Clavigo  and  Del  Castillo,  who  expressly  state  that  the 
establishment  of  the  Inquisition  in  those  islands  in  1504  was 
due  to  the  large  number  of  Jewish  outcasts  from  Spain  who 
had  found  an  asylum  there.  From  the  Inquisition  documents 
themselves,  however,  we  obtain  more  than  one  glimpse  of  a 
community  of  Spanish  Jews  which  had  existed  in  the  islands 
before  the  Expulsion.  According  to  a  deposition  made  by  an  aged 
female  in  1525  a  family  named  Beltran  lived  openly  as  Jews 
in  Teneriffe  as  early  as  1485,  although  the  island  was  not 
finally  conquered!  by  the  Spaniards  until  ten  years  later.  In 
1574  a  record  was  discovered  by  the  Inquisition  stating  that 
a  "Jewish  heretic,"  named  Rodrigo  de  Leon,  was  prosecuted 
and  "reconciled"  by  the  ecclesiastical  authorities  at  Los 
Santos  in  1490.  A  deposition  made  before  the  Headquarters  of 
the  Holy  Office  in  Seville  and  transmitted  to  the  Canariote 
Inquisitors  in  1520  shows  that  there  was  an  early  community 
in  one  of  the  islands — the  name  is  not  given — duly  equipped 
with  a  synagogue,  a  Jewish  butcher  shop,  and  a  Schochet 
("matador  de  la  carne  de  los  Judios"),  aiamed  Rabbi  David, 
and  that  .there  was  a  brisk  business  in  "carne  ca&ser"  or 
"  kosher  "  meat.  Jewish  funerals  are  also  mentioned.  For  some 
years  after  the  expulsion  from  Spain  this  community  led  a 
normal  life,  and  the  Jewish  refugees  seem  to  have  remained 
unmolested.  In  1499,  however,  the  Bishop  Diego  de  Muros, 
acting  as  an  "Ordinary"  or  unofficial  Inquisitor,  set  up  an 
enquiry  into  heresy.  No  one  seems  to  have  been  prosecuted, 
but  evidence  was  collected  establishing  the  existence  of  a 
considerable  number  of  Marranos  in  the  islands,  and  of  at 
least  one  secret  synagogue — at  San  Lucar. 

(    3    ) 

The  fact  that  no  action  was  taken  on  this  evidence  is  in- 
teresting as  an  early  symptom  of  the  difficulties  with  w'hioh 
the  Inquisition  had  to  grapple  throughout  its  career  in  the 
islands.  The  Spanish  settlers  were  from  the  outset  a  rough 
and  motley  company.  Far  from  the  centre  of  government, 
straddling  the  great  maritime  highways  which  led  to  the  New 
Worlds  of  the  East  and  West,  they  engaged  in  many  prohibited 
enterprises.  Very  soon  they  were  hand  and  glove  with  all  the 
nondescript  buccaneers  and  freebooters  who  made  the  Canariote 
creeks  and  channels  a  rendezvous  and  a  refuge  in  their  illegal 
traffic  with  the  Spanish  Main,  and  in  their  piratical  forays 
against  the  richly  laden  galleons  from  Hindustan 
and  Cathay.  On  this  traffic  the  commerce  and  agriculture  of 
the  islands  soon  began  to  depend,  and  hence  it  became  a 
common  interest  to  resist  the  monopolist  policy  of  the  Crown, 
and  more  especially  the  desolating  persecution  of  the  Inquisi- 
tion. Probably  the  good  Bishop  found — as  some  of  his  suc- 
cessors avowedly  found — 'that  too  close  an  enquiry  into  heresy 
was  not  calculated,  to  swell  the  Church  revenues,  and  with 
this  view  the  secular  authorities,  both  royal  and  local,  were 
perhaps  in  accord,  more  especially  as  it  applied  with  equal 
cogency  to  their  own  material  interests. 

Unfortunately  the  mischief  had  already  been  done.  It  was 
not  long  before  an  echo  of  the  Bishop's  discoveries  reached 
the  "  Suprema"  at  Seville,  over  which  the  zealous  Fiancisoo 
Diego  Deza  was  then  presiding  in  his  capacity  of  Inquisitor- 
General  of  Andalusia.  A  summons  to  appear  before  the  Seville 
Tribunal  was  in  due  course  issued  to  the  chief  of  the  offenders 
on  Muros's  list,  an  influential  Marrauo  resident  of  Las  Palrnas 
named  Goncalo  de  Burgos.  It  appears  that  Burgos  had  been 
tried  and  acquitted  by  the  Seville  Court  once  before,  and  it  was 
alleged  against  him  in  the  Canariote  depositions  that  he  had 
boasted  of  having  outwitted,  the  Inquisitors.  On  this  occasion 
the  Tribunal  was  again  cheated  of  its  prey,  for  the  caravel 
on  which  Burgos  was  conveyed  to  Spain  was  wrecked  off  Cadiz 
in  October,  1502,  and  Burgos  was  drowned.  About  the  same 
time  orders  were  issued  by  the  "  Suprema  "  to  arrest  another 
Marrano  of  Las  Palmas,  Luis  Alvares,  who  was  reported  to 
be  the  Eabbi  of  the  local  secret,  synagogue,  but  wnen  the 
Alguazils  appealed  at  his  .house  lie  had  flown.  One  of  his 
congregants  named  Mayorga  was,  however,  seized  and  taken  to 
Cordova,  where  he  was  .Qpnvicted  and  burnt.  Thete  fiascos 
seem  to  have  oojivinced  Deza  of  the  necessity  of  extending  his 
net  in  a  permanent  form  to  the  Canaries.  Moreover,  he  was 
then  smarting  from  the  failure  of  his  famous  attempt  to 
impose  the  Inquisition  on  the  kingdom,  of  Naples  in  the  teeth 
of  the  Great  Captain,  Gonsalvo  of  Cordova,  and  it  is  not 

(    4    ) 

difficult  to  understand  that  he  should  have  been  eager  for 
compensations  elsewhere.  However  that  may  be,  in  1504  he 
eent  Bartolome  Lopez  Tribaldos  as  his  deputy  to  establish 
the  Holy  Tribunal  at  Las  Palmas,  and  the  Commission  was 
duly  executed. 


During  the  firstl  twenty  years  of  its  existence  the  Canariote 
Office  was  exceedingly  busy,  but  the  results  so  far  as  dis- 
coveries and  punishments  were  concerned,  were  meagre.  He- 
ttween  1504  and  1510  the  number  of  Marranos  or  New  Christians 
denounced  to  Tribaldos  and  his  familiars  was  only  thirty-four, 
and  in  none  of  these  cases  were  the  circumstances  held  to  warrant 
11  public  Auto  dn  Fe.  It  is  true  that  two  Autos  were  held, 
one  in  1507  and  the  other  in  1510,  but  they  were  private, 
and  the  punishments  inflicted  belonged  to  the  minor  categories 
of  "Reconciliation "  and  "Penitence."  Nevertheless  the 
evidence  showed  that  Marranism  was  widely  and  deeply  rooted 
in  the  Archipelago.  Luis  Alvams  was  back  in  Las  Palmar 
and  no  fewer  than  five  informers  denounced  him  as  a  Jew 
and  as  holding  Judaical  meetings  in  his  house.  Similar 
evidence  was  given  against  one  Luis  de  Niebla,  whose  house 
was  nicknamed  "the  little  synagogue,"  and  another  Marrano, 
Goncalo  de  Cordova,  who  was  accused  of  maintaining  a  secret 
synagogue  in  La  Laguna.  No  action  appears  to  have  been 
taken  on  these  serious  informations,  and  when  in  1507  the 
Inquisitors  found  themselves  under  the  necessity  of  doing 
something  which  should  justify  them  at  Seville  their  wrath 
fell  upon  a  quite  insignificant  Portuguese  Marrano  named 
Juan  de  Ler,  who,  together  with  Ana  Rodrigues,  accused  of 
witchcraft,  was  "  reconciled  "  in  the  Cathedral.  The  Auto  of 
1510  was  on  a  slightly  more  ambitious  scale.  Four  heretics,  of 
whom  one  \\as  a  Mahominedan,  were  "reconciled  "  with  sambmito, 
and  one  Jew,  Juan  Fernandez,  was  "penanced."  The  Jewish 
Reconciliados  were  Pedro  Dorador,  Alvaro  Esteves  and  Beatrice 
de  la  Cruz,  all  accused  of  professing  and  teaching  the  Mosaic 
creed.  Only  one  of  the  prisoners,  Pedro  Dorador,  was  a  person 
of  consequence,  and  his  arrest  for  a  time  created  a  panic  in 
the  Marrano  community.  He  was  one  of  Bishop  Muros's  cases 
in  1499  anil  he  was  known  as  a  di.M-iplr  of  Lui«  Alvart>». 

The  panic  soon  subsided  acd  during  the  next  fourteen  years 
very  few  Marranos  were  molested  and  none  denounced.  This 
does  not  seem  to  have  been  due  in  any  way  to  the  edifying  lives 
led  by  the  New  Christians,  or  to  a  falling  off  in  their  numbers. 
In  1519  the  Vicar  of  La  Palma  reported  to  the  Bishop  of 
Canary  that  the  island  was  full  of  the  so-called  "converts." 
We  hear  of  a  secret  synagogue  in  Santa  Cruz  and  of  another 

(    5    ) 

belonging  to  one  Alvaro  Goncales,  a  prosperous  wine-grower  of 
La  Palma,  of  whom  we  shall  hear  more  presently,  which  was 
frequented  by  many  rich  Marrano  merchants.  In  1520  it  was 
reported  that  many  Marranos  sought  to  convert  their  slaves 
to  Judaism,  and  one  of  them,  Gutierree  de  Ocana,  a  wealthy 
landowner  nicknamed  the  "King  of  Fuerteventura,"  tried  to 
make  the  people  of  his  island  keep  the  Saturday  Sabbath.  If 
the.  Inquisitors  turned  a  blind  eye  ta  these  grave  malpractices 
it!  was  probably  because  both  the  civil  authorities  and  the  local 
clergy  feared  the  ruinous  effects  of  a  persecution.  Quarrels 
between  them  were  incessant,  and  in  1521  the  Chapter  even 
sent  a  deputation  to  Madrid  to  complain  of  Martin  Ximenes, 
who  had  succeeded  Tribaldos  as  Inquisitor.  The  indifference 
of  the  local  clergy  to  heresy  is  amusingly  ilhistrated  by  an 
incident  reported  to  the  Inquisition  in  1525.  Diego  Frances, 
a  "dog  of  a  Jew,"  as  the  informer  described  him, 
was  alleged  to  have  been  seen  to  break  a  figure  of 
the  child  Jesus  and  throw  the  fragments  into  the 
fire.  The  wife  of  Anton  de  Madalena  promptly  com- 
plained of  this  act  of  sacrilege  to  Juan  de  Troya,  the  Parish 
priest.  He,  however,  bundled  her  out  of  his  house,  saying: 
"Let  him  go  to  the  Devil!  What  do  you  suppose  I  can  do? 
I  cannot  arrest  him  or  punish  him.  The  time  will  come  when 
he  will  pay  for  it." 

Although  Juan  de  Troya,  good  honest  man,  knew  it  not,  t'he 
spirit  of  prophecy  was  upon  him  when  he  uttered  these  words. 
An  evil  time  was  indeed  coming,  not,  perha,ps,  for  Diego 
Frances — for  we  hear  little  more  of  him  and  his  Judaical 
image-breaking — but  for  the  whole  heretical  community  lo 
which  he  belonged.  Between  1523  and  1532  the  happy  Canaries 
— the  Fortunate  Islands  of  the  early  voyagers— suffered  a  series 
of  calamities  as  strange  as  they  were  appalling.  Plague  broke 
out  in  Grand  Canary  and  ravaged  the  whole  island,  and  in 
its  wake  followed  the  horrors  of  famine.  The  inhabitants 
fled  to  Ihe  neighbouring  islands,  where  they  created  a  panie 
which  speedily  took  the  form  of  religious  exaltation.  This 
was  the  opportunity  for  the  Inquisitor  Ximenes,  who  at  last 
found  a  congenial  public  opinion  to  appeal  to.  The  awful 
visitations  were  pictured  by  him  as  manifestations  of  divine 
wrath  on  account  of  the  tolerance  of  Judaical  and  Mahommedan 
backsliders,  who  celebrated  in  secret  the  rites  of  the  detestable 
heresies  they  had  solemnly  pledged  themselves  to  abandon.  To 
appease  the  Almighty  Don  Martin  set  out  on  the  warpath 
against  the  heretics  and  laid  his  plans  for  n  public  Auto  da  Fe 
on  the  tragical  model  of  the  Mother  Church  in  Seville.  To- 
wards the  end  of  May,  1524,  a  batch  of  edicts  were  promulgated 
in  his  name  and  duly  published  in  the  Cathedral  Church  of 

(    6    ) 

St.  Ana  in  Las  Palmas.  The  first  was  a  general  call  for  the 
extirpation  of  heresy  and  the  confession  of  erroneous  practices. 
The  second  was  aimed  specifically  at  Jews  and  Moors  and 
gave  an  account  of  their  religious  and  social  manners  and 
customs  at  great  length.  This  document  is  exceedingly  interest- 
ing as  a  record  of  the  Jewish  ceremonies  and  customs  which  had 
survived  among  the  Marranos,  and  was,  of  course,  very 
useful  in  enabling  informers  to  detect  the  heretics.  A  third 
edict  prohibited  masters,  owners  and  captains  of  ships,  visiting 
aoid  leaving  the  Canariote  ports,  from  taking  on  board  or 
giving  passage  abroad  to  "converts  or  New  Christians,  con- 
verted to  our  Holy  Catholic  Faith  from  Judaism  "  under  pain 
of  excommunication  and  confiscation  of  their  ships  and  other 
property.  The  other  edicts  are  not  of  specific  Jewish  interest. 
The  effect!  of  this  appeal  to  the  religious  maniacs  was  ^oo1! 
made  apparent  by  the  large  number  of  denunciations  which 
poured  into  the  Holy  Office  between  1524  and  1526.  On  these 
denunciations  formal  prosecutions  were  founded,  and  eventually 
eight1  of  the  accused  were  condemned  to  be  "relaxed"  or 
burnt  alive,  ten  were  "reconciled"  and  two  were  "penanced/" 
Eleven  of  these  unhappy  creatures  were  Jews  or  Jewesses,  six 
figuring  among  the  Kelaxados,  four  among  the  Ifcconciliados, 
and  one  among  the  Pcnitenciados.  The  Jewish  Relaxados  were 
AJvaro  Gonfales,  his  wife  Mencia  Vaes,  and  his  eldest  son, 
Silvestre  Goncales,  Maistre  Diego  de  Valera,  Pedro  Gonfales 
and  Alonzo  Yanez;  the  Ifcconciliados  were  Ana  and  Duarte 
Goncales,  son  and  daughter  of  Alvaro,  Hector  Mendes  and 
Hernan  Rodrigues.  The  Pcnitenciado  was  Fernando  Jaryam. 


Augustin  Millares  states  in  his  "Historia  de  la  Inqtmicion  en 
las  Islas  Canarias  "  that  all  these  people  suffered  their  penalties 
on  the  same  day— February  24,  1526.  This  is  an  error.  There 
were  two  solemn  burnings,  one  on  February  24  and  the  other 
a  month  later,  while  the  non-capital  sentences  were  executed  at 
intervals  between  the  major  functions.  In  the  nrst  batch  oi 
I!< !'ix ados  were  Alvaro  Goncales  and  his  son  Siivestre,  Alonzo 
Yanez  and  Pedro  Goncales.  Alvaro  Goncales  was  the  most 
important  of  the  convicts.  He  had  long  been  a  marked  man 
in  I  he  Archipelago  As  far  back  as  1506  he  had  been  denounced 
to  the  Inquisitors,  and  two  further  informations  against  him 
were  filed  in  1519.  He  was  born  at  Castil  Blanco,  in  Portugal, 
and  was  70  years  old  when  he  was  arrested.  In  his  native 
Jewry  lie  had  acted  as  Rabbi,  or  Chazan,  and  he  appears  to  have 
been  a  person  of  some  theological  learning.  In  1496,  when,  in 
celebration  of  Don  Manuel's  marriage  with  the  Spanish  Infanta 

(    7    ) 

Isabella,  the  expulsion  of  the  Jews  from  Portugal  was  decreed, 
Goncales  joined  the  Roman  Catholic  Church  with  all  his 
family.  The  simulations  of  Marranism  Avere,  however,  difficult 
for  him.  and  he  soon  fovind  himself  compelled  to  fly  the 
country.  For  tfhree  years  he  lived  at  Gibraleo,  and  then 
migrated  to  San  Miguel,  in  the  Azores.  Here  he  was  arrested 
for  sacrilege,  but,  together  with  other  imprisoned  New 
Christians,  managed  to  break  gaol  and  escape.  He  arrived  in 
the  Canaries  in  1504,  and  settled  in  La  Palma,  where  he  carried 
"n  a  shoe-making  business*,  and  acquired  some  vineyard  pro- 
perty. According  to  the  evidence  given  at  his  trial,  he  and 
his  family  lived  ag  orthodox  Jews.  He  killed  his  meat  in  the 
Jewish  fashion,  observed  the  fasts  and  festivals,  and  kept  open 
house  for  the  other  Marrano  residents  in  La  Palma  on  Friday 
evenings,  when  he  inaugurated  the  Jewish  Sabbath  in  orthodox 
fashion.  He  refused  to  allow  his  slaves  to  be  baptised,  and  he 
did  not  scruple  to  speak  his  mind  of  Christianity.  When  one 
of  his-  "Old  Christian"  neighbours  taunted  him  with  being  a. 
Jew,  he  replied  that  it  was  "better  to  be  a  good  Jew  than  a 
bad  Christian."  After  a  trial  lasting  from  October,  1524,  until 
January,  1526,  he  was  convicted  of  heresy  and  perjury,  and 
sentenced  to  be  handed  over  gagged  to  the  civil  power,  and  to 
confiscation  of  his  property.  Although  throughout  the  trial 
he  denied  the  charges  alleged  against  him,  he  made  no  secret 
of  his  fidelity  to  Judaism  when  he  was  being  led  to  the  stake. 

The  trial  of  his  son  Silvestre  followed  a  similar  course,  with 
the  exception  that  he  was  submitted  to  torture  in  order  to 
extract  from  him  a  confession  that  would  incriminate  his 
father.  This  cruel  device  failed,  and  Silvestre  also  was 
"relaxed"  as  an  impenitent  heretic  and  perjurer. 

The  third  Gon^ales,  who  suffered  death  on  February  24,  was 
not  a  relative  of  the  other  two.  Pedro  or  Solomon  Gon^ales 
was  the  public  executioner,  and  we  are  told  that  he  was  in 
rsceipt  of  a  salary  of  2,000  maravedis  per  annum  from  the 
Crown.  He  made  no  secret  of  the  insincerity  of  his 
Christianity.  A  Jew  of  Castile,  he  had  accompanied  his  father 
into  exile  in  1492,  but  he  returned  six  years  later  and  was 
baptised.  In  1505  he  settled  in  the  Canaries,  where  he  soon 
became  known  as  a  Judaiser.  He  had  a  taste  for  theological 
controversy,  and  he  once  expounded  the  Jewish  view  of  the 
Crucifixion  to  a  prebendary  of  the  Cathedral  with  a  good  deal 
of  learning  and  outspokenness.  At  hig  trial  he  denied  nothing 
except  that  his  outward  demeanour  had  been  in  any  way 
contrary  to  the  requirements  of  the  Church.  Asked  whether 
since  his  conversion  ha  had  entertained  doubts  concerning 
Christianity,  he  answered  frankly:  "Sometimes,  in  seeing 
Christians  act  contrary  to  the  laws  of  their  Church,  I  remember 

(    8    ) 

how  faithfully  the  Jews  kept  the  commandments  of  their 
Church,  and  I  remember  that  a  Jew  is  allowed  but  one  wife 
and  should  know  no  other  woman,  while  Christians  have  one, 
two  or  more,  and  that  in  other  matters  the  Jews  are  more 
faithful  to  their  teachings  than  the  Christians  to  theirs. 
Moreover,  the  Jews  are  honest,  while  the  Christian?,  like  the 
beasts  of  the  field,  prey  upon  one  another."  After  this  avowal, 
of  course,  his  doom  was  sealed. 

The  fourth  Rclaxado  on  February  24  was  Alonzo  Yanez,  a 
native  of  Villaviciosa,  in  Portugal  and  a  farmer  in  Teneriffe. 
The  documents  relating  to  his  case  are  scanty,  and  Millares  in 
his  li-*t  excludes  him  from  the  Judaieers.  It  is  true  that  in 
the  first  instance  he  was  arrested  only  on  a  charge  of  heresy, 
but  the  sentence  on  him  expressly  states  that  he  was  found 
guilty  of  "professing  and  teaching  the  deadly  creed  of  the 

In  the  second  execution  on  March  24  the  Rclarados  were 
Mencia  Vaes,  the  wife  of  Alvaro  Goncales,  and  Maistre  Diego 
de  \7alera.  Like  her  husband,  Mencia  Vaee  was  a  native  of 
Caitil  Blanco.  Her  life  story  was  similar  to  his,  and  her  trial 
pursued  very  much  the  same  course.  Diego  de  Valera  was  a 
friend  of  Alvaro  Goncales.  Although  he  had  been  long  suspected 
of  heresy,  it  wa<*  not  until  he  publicly  showed  his  sympathy 
with  Gonfales  during  the  Auto  da  Fe  on  February  24  that  he 
wa^  arrested  and  prosecuted.  It  was  then  discovered  that  he 
was  a  Lisbon  Jew,  who  before  th?  expulsion  of  1496  had  been 
known  ns  Isaac  Levi.  On  his  baptism  he  received  the  name 
of  Diego  de  Valera,  and  for  a  time  was  in  the  King's  servic-3 
as  a  surgeon.  He  accompanied  the  expedition  of  Diogo 
d'Azumbuja  to  Morocco  in  1507,  and,  after  the  annexation  of 
Sa(fi,  was  given  a  post  in  the  administration  of  that  town. 
Why  and  when  he  settled  in  the  Canaries  we  are  not  told.  His 
trial  lasted  only  a  few  days,  the  charges  against  him  being  that 
h?  wac  a  regular  frequenter  of  the  Jewish  conventicle  held  at 
Alvaro  Goncales' s  house,  and  that  at  the  Auto  dn  Fe  of 
February  24  he  went  up  to  Goiifales  and  congratulated  him  on 
dying  a  Jew.  On  March  21  he  was  found  guilty  of  reverting 
to  "the  deadly  creed"  and  duly  sentenced. 

Of  the  four  tteronriliados  and  one  Penitenciado  little  need  be 
•aid.  Indeed,  in  the  cases  of  two  of  the  Reconciliados,  Hector 
Mendes  and  Hernan  Rodrigues,  all  the  documents  are  missing, 
and  al!  we  know  of  them  is  that  they  were  condemned  to  a 
public  abjuration  of  Judaism  with  confiscation  of  property, 
and  tlio  attendant  civil  disqualifications.  The  other  two, 
Duarte  and  Ana  Goncalos,  were  children  of  Alvaro.  Ana  was 
the  wife  of  an  "Old  Christian"  named  Pedro  Hernandez,  who 
had  long  been  at  feud  with  her  father,  and  was  largely 

f    9    ) 

responsible  for  his  prosecution.  She  and  her  brother  both  con- 
fessed after  their  father's  death  and  when  a  confession  could 
no  longer  compromise  him.  The  following  paragraph  in  the 
record  of  Duarte's  examination  throws  an  ironic  light  on  the 
methods  of  the  Inquisition  in  extorting  confessions : 

Asked  why  he  had  not  confessed  before  he  replies  that  he 
had  always  believed  what  his  father  had  taught  him  until 
two  days  ago  when  lie  was  present  at  the  Auto  in  which  his 
father  and  his  brother  were  burnt,  and  learnt  then  that 
the  faith,  of  Jesus  Christ  is  the  trua  faith,  and  that  this 
witness  has  been  in  error. 

How  enduring  this  lesson  was  is  shown  by  another  Auto  da  Fe 
to  which  I  shall  refer  presently. 

Ths  one  Jewish  Penitenciado  Fernando  Jaryam  was  a  choleric 
Spanish  notary  whose  habit  of  blasphemous  language  had  long 
been  the  scandal  and  wonderment  of  the  saintly  people  of  Las 
Palmas.  All  was  explained  when  one  day  in  May,  1525, 
Sebastian  Valera  came  forward  and  declared  that  while 
travelling  in  Morocco  he  had  met  a  Jew  named  Jaryam  who 
had  told  him  that  Fernando  was  his  brother,  and  that  both 
had  been  born  as  Jews  at  San  Lucar  de  Barremeda.  How  he 
had  brought  himself  within  the  clutches  of  the  Inquisition, 
however,  does  not  appear. 


Contented  with  .his  tragical  act  of  propitiation  Ximenes 
retired  from  the  post  of  Inquisitor  in  the  following  year  and 
was  succeeded  by  Luis  de  Padilla.  The  plague  still  raged  in 
Canary,  and  the  extirpation  of  heresy  consequently  remained 
necessary  as  an  antidote  to  the  scourge.  Padilla  followed 
zealously  in  Ximenes's  footsteps,  and  held  two  more  public 
Autos,  one  in  1530  and  the  other  in  1534.  In  comparison  with 
the  great  Auto  of  1526,  'however,  they  were  poor  affairs. 
Victims  were  no  longer  easy  to  find.  Marranism  had  been 
taught  a  terrible  lesson.  The  leading  Nuevos  Christianas  had 
disappeared,  and  those  who  remained  took  care  to  give  no 
offence  to  the  Holy  Office.  Denunciations  of  Jewish  practices 
were  still  forthcoming  but  they  were  few  and  trivial.  The 
sort  of  information  with  which  Padilla  had  to  deal  is  illus- 
trated by  the  following  note  of  a  deposition  dated  May,  1527: — 
Aldonca  de  Vergas  y  Vargas  smiled  when  she  heard 
mention  of  Our  Lady  the  Virgin  Mary,  which  caused  her 
to  be  suspected  of  being  a  Christiana,  Nueva. 

Nevertheless  Jewish  Reconciliados  were  obtained  for  the 
second  Auto,  and  there  would  have  been  one  Kelaxado  in  person, 
a  certain  Juan  de  Tarifa,  had  he  not  cheated  the  stake  by 

(    10    ) 

hanging  himself  in  prison  the  night  before.  The  Auto  had  to 
be  content  with  his  dead  body.  None  of  these  cases  present 
any  features  of  special  interest.  In  the  third  Auto  were  two 
Jewish  relaxados  who  were  burnt  in  effigy  and  one  Reconnliado. 
The  ttelaxados  were  Duarte  Gon  pales,  the  younger  son  of  Alvaro 
Goncales,  who,  it  will  be  remembered,  was  converted  to 
Christianity  by  the  edifying  spectacle  of  his  father  and  brother 
at  the  stake  in  the  Auto  of  1526,  and  hie  uncle  Duarte  Perez. 
Both  had  managed  to  escape  to  Cape  Verd,  where  they  had 
rich  relations.  In  the  case  of  the  recontiliado,  Pedro  Berruyo, 
no  documents  have  been  preserved. 

Ths  ensuing  hundred  years  were  comparatively  uneventful 
so  far  as  the  crypto-Jews  were  concerned.  All  traces  of  the 
permanent  community  had  been  uprooted  by  the  great  Auto, 
and  although  Jews  never  ceased  in  the  islands,  they  were  more 
or  less  birds  of  passage,  who  recognised  that  the  old  immunities 
were  gone,  and  that  the  same  vigilant  prudence  and  dissimula- 
tion were  required  at  Las  Palmas  or  Santa  Cruz  as  in  Seville 
or  Lisbon.  The  plague  finally  disappeared  in  1532,  and  the 
islands  resumed  their  normal  easy-going  life.  For  twenty-three 
years  the  Inquisition  remained  idle,  and  during  the  whole  of  that 
period  not  a  single  case  of  Judaism  was  reported  to  it.  When, 
in  1557,  it  ventured  on  another  Auto,  it  had  only  Mohammedans 
and  Dutch  Lutheran  sailors  to  deal  with,  and  even  then  the 
majority  were  condemned  in  coniumaciam.  But  even  this  proof 
of  solicitude  for  the  orthodoxy  of  the  islands  does  not  seem  to 
have  been  relished  by  the  inhabitants,  for  it  was  followed  in 
1562  by  a  violent  conflict  between  Padilla  and  the  municipality. 
This  state  of  affairs  gave  great  dissatisfaction  at  Seville,  and 
the  "  Suprema "  ordered  the  reorganisation  of  the  local  In- 
quisition with  larger  powers.  An  independent  inquisitor  was 
appointed  in  the  person  of  Diego  Ortiz  de  Funez,  who,  with 
20  noble  familiars,  landed  at  Las  Lsletos  in  1568,  and  at  once 
promulgated  the  Royal  letters  commanding  obedience  to  him. 
In  the  following  year  a  fifth  Auto  was  held,  and  one  Jew  named 
Pedrianis,  who  had  been  denounced  in  1524,  was  penanced  with 
ten  years  in  the  galleys.  There  were  also  three  non-Jewish 
Relaxados  in  effigy  and  a  score  of  other  Pemtenciados. 

With  all  Funez's  energy,  the  supply  of  Judaisers  remained 
exceedingly  scanty.  In  1570  he  sent  Bravo  y  Zayas  on  a  tour  of 
the  Archipelago  to  hunt  up  heretics  and  collect  denunciations, 
but  the  offences  reported  to  him  were  for  the  most  part 
ludicrously  trivial,  and  although  he  transmitted  six  cases  of 
suspected  Marranism  to  Las  Palmas,  not  one  of  them  was  found 
qualified  for  the.  sixth  Auto,  which  was  held  in  1574.  At  the 
seventh  Auto,  in  1676,  one  Jew,  Juan  Yanez,  was  relaxed  in 
effigy,  and  at  the  eighth,  in.  1561,  a  crypto-Jeweee,  Catalina 

(  11  ) 

Nunez,  was  penanced,  but  here  the  list  ends.  In/  the  remain- 
ing three  public  Autos,  in  1587,  1591,  and  1597,  no  Jews  or 
Marraiio,s  figured.  Sixty  years  later  there  was  a  Jewish  case, 
to  whichi  I  shall  refer  presently,  but  technically  it  was  not  one 
of  the  ordinary  public  Autos,  of  which  none  were  held  after  1597. 


The  revival  of  Marranism  in  the  Canaries  dates  from  the  first 
quarter  of  the  seventeenth  century.  The  peace  between  England 
and  Spain  in  1604  gave  a  great  impetus  to  the  sugar  and  wine 
trades  of  the  Archipelago,  in  which  the  Marranos  of 
Lisbon,  and  the  Jews  of  Bayonne,  Nantes,  Rouem, 
Bordeaux,  Rochelle  and  Amsterdam  were  largely  inter- 
ested. It  became  necessary  for  these  Jewish  merchants 
to  pay  occasional  visits  to  the  islands  to  look  after 
their  interests,  and  gradually  some  of  them  resettled  in  Teneriffe 
and  La  Palma.  The  immigration  was  vastly  increased  by  the 
outburst  against  the  New  Christians  in  Portugal,  and  especially 
at  Coimbra,  where  between  1612  a.nd  1630  no  fewer  than  ten. 
great  Auto  da  Fes  were  held.  In  1631  the  Inquisition  took  action 
against  the  immigrants,  and  a  number  of  denunciations  were 
collected  during  the  ensuing  six  years.  The  investigation  dis- 
closed the  existence  of  quite  a  colony  of  rich  Jewish  merchants 
in  La  Laguna.  Most  of  them  -\vere  refugees  from  Portugal  who 
had  narrowly  escaped  the  clutches  of  the  Inquisition,  and  whose 
relatives  in  many  cases  had  perished  at  the  stake  in  Lisbon 
and  Coimbra.  The  depositions  give  detailed  accounts  of  their 
family  history.  The  most  conspicuous  of  them  was  Fernan 
Pinto,  who  exported  wine  in  his  own  ships  to  Holland,  re- 
ceiving British  manufactures  in  return.  He  eventually  escaped 
to  Amsterdam.  It  was  probably  this  investigation  and  the 
persecution  it  threatened  which  drove  Carvajal  to  emigrate  to 
England,  for  we  find  the  name  of  his  brother  Jorge  Fernandez 
in  the  list  of  suspects  for  1631,  and  in  his  petition  for  Deniza- 
tion  in  1655  he  states  that  he  had  then  been  resident  in  England 
"for  20  years  and  upwards." 

In  1641  a  fresh  immigration  of  Marranos  arose  out  of  the 
abortive  Lisbon  conspiracy  of  that  year  to  re-establish  the 
Spanish  domination  in  Portugal,  in  which  many  rich  and 
influential  New  Christians  were  involved.  It  will  be  re- 
membered that  when  Duarte  Henriques  Alvares  gave  evidence 
in  the  Robles  case  in  London  in  1656  he  was  asked  how  it  was 
that  his  nephew  being  a  Jew  could  venture  to  live  in  the 
Canaries,  whereupon  he  replied  that  "the  Portugalls  who  took 
part  with  the  King  of  Spain  were  free -to  live  in  his  territories." 
This  does  not  seem  to  have  been  true  of  Robles,  but  it  was  true 
of  Alvares  himself  and  of  many  others,  for  about  this  date  we 

(    12    ) 

find  numerous  references  in  the  Canariote  documents  to  New 
Christians  who  were  living  in  the  islands  "on  licence  "  and 
consequently  were  free  fi-om  the  attentions  of  the  Inquisition 
so  long  as  the  spuriousness  of  their  Christianity  was  not  openly 
flaunted.  The  Inquisition,  however,  still  tried  to  make  itself 
disagreeable  to  the  Marranos,  but  its  action  was  limited 
partly  by  public  opinion,  which  would  not  tolerate  any  serious 
interference  with  the  flourishing  trade  then  growing  lip  with 
England  and  Holland,  and  in  which  the  Jews  were  an 
important  element,  and  partly  by  a  shrewd  sense  of  its  own 
material  interests  which,  as  it  explained  in  1654  in  a  petition 
to  the  King  against  restrictions  on  the  wine  trade,  were  bound 
up  with  the  prosperity  of  the  vineyards  on  the  ground-rents  of 
which  its  revenues  largely  depended. 

From  this  time  forward  the  local  Jewish  interest  of  the 
Canari-ote  documents  becomes  subordinate  to  their  Anglo- 
Jewish  interest.  My  hope  that  they  would  serve  to  throw 
some  fresh  light  on  the  lives  of  the  founders  of  our  community 
and  on  the  circumstances  of  the  Resettlement  in  1655-56  was 
not  disappointed.  Quite  a  number  of  members  of  the  little 
congregation  which  worshipped  in  Creechurch  Lane  under  the 
wardenship  of  Antonio  Fernandez  Carvajal,  at  the  time  of 
Menasseh  ben  Israel's  visit  to  London,  appear  in  these  docu- 
ments together  with  much  information  concerning  their  social 
and  political  status. 

The  first  name  we  come  across  is  that  of  Diego  Rodrigues 
Aries,  whose  existence  as  a  Loiidon  Marrano  was  first  revealed 
when  he  appeared  as  a  witness  in  the  Robles  case  in  1656.  His 
name  is  entered  on  the  prisons'  register  for  1653.  It  appears 
that  Aries  was  a  native  of  Marchena  in  Andalusia.  After 
living  for  some  years  in  Amsterdam  he  migrated  to  London  in 
1651  and  was  known  there  as  a  Jew.  TTe  was  a  shipowner 
and  he  came  to  La  Cruz  in  January,  1653,  in  one  of  his  own 
ships  to  take  in  a  cargo  of  wine.  While  in  the  port  he  was 
denounced  by  a  coloured  man  who  had  served  him  in  London. 
and  he  was  arrested  in  the  house  of  his  brother-in-law,  Gonpnle 
Ro<lrigues  Vaez.  He  does  not  appear  to  have  boen  kept  in 
prison  very  long,  for  in  the  following  year  he  was  back  in 
London,  and  there  is  no  record  of  any  punishment  having  boen 
inflicted  upon  him. 

The  next  names  are  those  of  Duarte  Henriques  Alvares  and 
his  nephew  Antonio  Rodrigues  Roblfs.  Alvarez  occupied  a 
great  deal  of  the  attention  of  the  Inquisitors  owing  to  the  high 
official  position  he  had  held  in  the  Islands.  A<  WP  know,  he 
lia;l  been,  the  local  treasurer  and  Roblrs  had  been  hi-  deputy.  He 
settled  in  the  Canaries  in  1641  and  married  a  lady  named  de 
Rojas,  apparently  an  "Old  Christian,"  by  whom  he  had  two 

'•    13    ) 

sons,  Tomas  and  Diego  de  Rojas.  Left  a  widower  he  fell  in 
love  with  a  Jewess  named  Leila  Henriques,  while  on  a  visit 
to  Amsterdam.  Returning  to  the  Canaries  he  realised  as  much 
of  his  property  as  he  could  and  then  fled  to  Holland  where  he 
was  married  in  the  synagogue.  In  1653  he  settled  in  London, 
and  sent  to  the  Canaries  for  his  two  sons.  Owing  to  the  reports 
which  were  received  of  his  life  in  London,  where  he  was  a 
model  of  Jewish  orthodoxy,  the  Inquisition  solemnly  sentenced 
him  to  be  relaxed  in  effigy  in  1658,  and  a  special  Auto  da  Fc 
was  held  for  the  purpose.  In  1665  his  eldest  son  Tomas  got 
into  the  hands  of  some  Jesuit  priests  in  London,  who  at  hie 
request  sent  him  back  to  the  Canaries.  There  he  appeared 
before  the  commissioner  of  the  Inquisition  at  Orotava  and 
solemnly  denounced  his  father  as  a  Jew. 

Concerning  Robles,  whose  life  was  set  out  in  detail  in  his 
case  before  the  Admiralty  Commissioners  in  London  in  1656, 
no  fresh  facts  of  any  importance  are  given.  The  other  London 
Jews1  referred  to  in  the  various  reports  received  by  the  Inqui- 
sition from  London  are  Antonio  Fernandes  Carvajal,  Domingo 
R/odrigues  Francia  and  Jorge  Francia,  Domingo  de  la  Cerda, 
Joseph  Carre,ra  y  Coligo,  Lourenco  Rodrigues  Liudo  and 
Manuel  Lindo.  We  also  hear  of  two  Jews  in  Dublin  in  1662, 
Manuel  Pereira  and  Jaques  Faro.  Some  of  these  names  are 
new  to  ui".  The  most  interesting  of  them  is  Lourenco  Rodri- 
gues Lindo.  He  was  in  London  in  1653,  but  returning  to  the 
Canaries  was  arrested  in  1656,  together  with  his  wife  Perpetua 
and  his  wiiVs  uncle  and  aumt,  Goncalo  and  Lucina  Rodrigues 
Vaes.  Lucina  Rodrigues  was  a  sister  of  Diego  Aries,  and  all 
were  residents  in  Teneriffe.  After  his  release  from  prison, 
Lourenco  Lindo  emigrated  with  his  wife  to  London,  where, 
as  Isaac  Lindo,  he  founded  a  family  which  has  ever  since  been 
honourably  connected  with  the  Anglo-Jewish  community,  and 
which  is  the  only  founder  family  that  has  perpetuated  itself 
in  the  community  in  the  male  line.  Lourenco  Lindo  was  a 
nephew  of  Carvajal,  his  mother  and  Dona  Maria  Carvajal 
being  sisters.  These  ladies  were  of  the  Nunez  family  of  La 
Guarda,  one  of  the  hotbeds  of  Lusitanian  Marranism,  who 
had  been  known  for  generations  as  ^tiff-necked  Judaisere.  In 
1650  one  of  Lourenco  Lindo'*  brothers,  Antonio  Rodrigues 
Lintlo,  was  a  Reconciliado  in  the  Lisbon  Auto  d<i  Fe,  ard  about 
the  same  time  his  maternal  uncle,  Antonio  Fernandez  Nunez — 
a  brother-in-law  of  Carvajal — was  awaiting  his  trial  in  the 
Inquisition  dungeons  at  Lima. 

With  regard  to  the  question  of  the  date  of  the  Resettlement 
of  the  Jews  in  this  country — which,  with  every  deference  to 
Dr.  Gastey  and  Mr.  Henriques,  I  hope  is  no  longer  a  question — 
the  Canariote  documents  confirm  the  traditional  view  which 

(    14    ) 

fixes  it  at  1655-56 — that  is  the  period  which  covers  the  White- 
kail   Conference   and  the   Robles   case.    On   this   point    I    will 
content  myself  with  quoting  only  two  documents.    The  firM    ir- 
a,  deposition  made  before  the  Inquisitors  in  the  City  of  Canary 
on  March  10,  1660,  by  Friar  Mathias  Pinto,  a  definidor  of  the 
Order  of  St.  Francis  lor  the  province.     He  relates  that  dm  mi; 
a  sojourn  in  England  in  1658  he  had  had  occasion  to  visit  Anton" 
Fernandas   Carvajal   in   order  to    cash   a   letter  of  credit   for 
1,000  ducats.    The  deposition  proceeds  :— 

Having  seen  him  frequently,  he  on  several  occasions  told 
this  deponent  that  he  had  been  a  Jew  from  the  time  that  the 
Protector  Cromwell  had  broken  the  peace  with  Sy>ain,  and  many 
times  he  was  wont  to  take  this  deponent's  hands  in  iiis 
and  say :  "  Don  Mathias,  although  I  am  a  Jew,  we  shall  all 
meet  in  Heaven." 

The  other  is  dated  September  4,  1665,  and  runs  as  follows: — 
Letter  from  Don  Francisco  Porteros  de  la  Vega  to  the 
Commissioner  of  the  Inquisition  at  Garachico  stating  that 
because  of  information  received,  that  since  the  year  1655, 
when  disturbances  arose  between  England  and  Spain,  many  Por- 
tuguese have  left  Spanish  territory  to  establish  themselves 
in  England  and  follow  the  Jewish  religion,  it  is  advisable  that 
the  Catholics  who  have  arrived  at  the  islands  in  the  ship 
which  came  there  for  Don  Chris-toval  de  Aponte  should  be 
examined  on  the  matter. 

What  this  contemporary  testimony  means  is  quite  clear.  It 
fixes  the  outbreak  of  the  war  with  Spain,  in  1655 — that  is  to 
say,  the  spring  of  1656  N.S.,  when  the  Kobles  case  was  investi- 
gated— as  the  date  when  the  Jews  in  England  were  able  to 
thiow  off  their  mask  and  live  openly  as  Jews.  The  facts  that 
Carvajal  himself  says  so,  and  that  Jews  had  emigrated  from 
Spain  to  England  on  the  strength  of  it,  seem  to  me  conclusive. 
It  will  be  noted  that  the  author  of  the  second  document  had 
apparently  never  heard  of  Charles  II.  in  the  matter,  although, 
when  he  wrote,  the  alleged  Carolian  Charter  to  the  Jews  whicli 
has  so  beguiled  Dr.  Gaster  was  thirteen  months  o'd. 

Let  me  add  to  this  rapid  survey  of  these  interesting  docu- 
ments, which  I  give  you  only  as  a  rough  instalment  of  our 
programme  for  the  coming  session,  that  we  shall  also  publish 
in  connexion  with  them  the  lists  of  Jewish  cases  in  the  archives 
of  the  Lisbon  Inquisition  which  were  prepared  for  us  some 
years  ago  by  M.  Cardozo  de  Bethencourt.  The  volume  will  thus, 
I  ami  sure,  prove  a  valuable  contribution  to  Jewish  history,  but  1 
am  hoping  that  it  will  prove  still  more  valuable  as  an  incentive 
and  guide  to  original  research,  for  which  there  is  an  illimitable 
field  in  the  Spanish  and  Portuguese!  inquisition,  and  of  which 
I  am  afraid  this  society  has  had  much  too  little  during  the  last 
ten  yeans.